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Photo: SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration is recommending health workers use N95 masks only once since personal protective equipment is now readily available, AP reported on Friday.

The big picture: PPE shortages at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic made the Trump administration issue guidelines for health workers to reuse disposable equipment, such as N95 masks. Manufacturers are now saying they have excess equipment and healthcare facilities have massive stockpiles, per AP.

What they're saying: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending health care personnel and facilities transition away from crisis capacity conservation strategies," the agency said in a letter to health workers, per AP.

But, but, but: The recommendation is not an order. Healthcare facilities are still allowed to sterilize and reuse N95 masks.

What's next: The FDA will release updated guidance in the coming weeks or months and will eventually require that hospitals return to single-use, Suzanne Schwartz, director of the FDA’s office of strategic partnerships and technology innovation, told AP.

Go deeper

Updated Jun 11, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Emergency room visits of all kinds dropped amid the pandemic.
  2. Vaccines: FDA clears 10 million J&J vaccine doses from contaminated Baltimore plant — Moderna asks FDA to expand COVID-19 vaccine authorization to adolescents.
  3. Cities: Seattle becomes first major city to get 70% fully vaccinated.
  4. Work: Goldman Sachs requires U.S. employees to report vaccination status.
  5. Politics: U.S. to buy 500 million Pfizer doses to share with the world — State Department eases travel advisories for dozens of countries.
  6. World: G7 commits to sending 1 billion COVID vaccine doses to lower-income countries — BioNTech plans to expand mRNA vaccine production into Africa 2021 already has a higher global coronavirus death toll than 2020.
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Back to normal without herd immunity.
  8. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 23, 2021 - Health

The next generation of coronavirus vaccines won't come as quickly

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A flood of cash from Operation Warp Speed helped coax a slew of biotech companies into the race for a coronavirus vaccine, but the incentives to keep working on new competitors won't be nearly as strong.

Why it matters: That initial flood of cash worked — it delivered multiple, highly effective vaccines in record time. In other disease areas, though, second- and third-generation vaccines usually become the dominant products. And the first COVID-19 vaccines aren't necessarily a great fit for the whole world.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Apr 23, 2021 - Health

The bad news about the J&J pause

Expand chart
Data: Harris Poll; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Publicity surrounding the Johnson & Johnson vaccine's possible link to blood clots has had a negative effect on overall public opinion on vaccines, according to new Harris polling.

By the numbers: 54% of respondents said they wouldn't be willing to take the J&J vaccine in the future, even if its use is given the go-ahead by federal regulators.